LEWISBURG, Pa. – After authoring one of the finest pitching careers in Bucknell baseball history, Connor Van Hoose is now set to begin his professional career for one of Major League Baseball’s most storied franchises. Van Hoose, the 2018 Patriot League Pitcher of the Year, was selected Tuesday in the eighth round (247th overall) by the New York Yankees.
Van Hoose becomes Bucknell’s 13th selection since the inception of the MLB Draft in 1965, and he is the program’s second-highest pick. Pitcher Andy Nezelek was a fifth-round choice (112th overall) of the Atlanta Braves in 1986. Van Hoose is also the highest selection out of the Patriot League since Army’s Nick Hill was taken by the Seattle Mariners in the seventh round in 2007.
Van Hoose is Bucknell’s first draft choice since Danny Rafferty was taken in the 35th round by the Oakland Athletics in 2016, but Rafferty chose to return to Bucknell for his senior year. Van Hoose will be trying to become the first Bucknell alum to play in the Major Leagues since pitcher Matt Daley, who went undrafted but pitched for three seasons with the Colorado Rockies (2009-11) and two with the Yankees (2013-14).
“I am really excited for Connor,” said Bucknell head coach Scott Heather. “He has put a ton of work into his development as a pitcher. He had a great college career at Bucknell, and it is nice to see that people noticed. He is going to a great organization, and I can’t wait to follow his career. Connor is a young man with great character, and we all wish him the best of luck as he starts his pro career.”
Van Hoose recently wrapped up a brilliant career for the Orange & Blue and will go down as one of the most dominant strikeout artists in school history. Even though an injury limited his innings throughout his freshman and sophomore seasons, Van Hoose elevated his stature to a true staff ace in 2017 and 2018.
As a junior, he was a unanimous First Team All-Patriot League selection after leading the Patriot League in ERA (2.28), innings pitched (83.0) and strikeouts (97). He posted a 1.87 ERA against conference opponents and spun a three-hitter against Navy in the Patriot League Tournament semifinals.
In 2018, Van Hoose took his game to another level and was named Patriot League Pitcher of the Year after finishing 8-4 with a 2.36 ERA in 12 starts. In Patriot League play, he was 6-1 with a microscopic 0.57 ERA, while holding opposing hitters to a .151 average. In his seven league starts, he allowed only 24 hits, 22 of which were singles.
This spring Van Hoose fanned a career-high 108 hitters, including 14 in a regular-season game at eventual league-champion Army, and another 11 in a complete-game win at West Point in the Patriot League Tournament. A highlight of his season came on Apr. 21 against Lehigh, when he pitched the fifth no-hitter in school history.
Van Hoose finished his career with a 16-13 record, a 2.55 ERA, and 238 strikeouts. The strikeout total ranks No. 2 in school history, behind only Bucknell Hall-of-Famer Don Richards, who had 354 from 1954-56. Van Hoose’s career ERA is fourth-best in school history, and his 16 wins are seventh-most.
The Yankees, who are currently 38-18 and one game behind the Boston Red Sox in the American League East, selected high school catcher Anthony Seigler in the first round, 23rd overall. Of the Yankees’ first eight picks, Van Hoose was one of four pitchers taken. This is the first time the Yankees have drafted a player from Bucknell.
Here are Bucknell's all-time MLB draft picks:
|18||540||Kyle Walter||LHP||Blue Jays||2006|
|8||247||Connor Van Hoose||RHP||Yankees||2018|
* Played first three years at Bucknell, then was drafted as a senior after transferring to East Stroundsburg.